If you were to ask Eli..an active, studious, motivated…and, sometimes reflective teenager; “What is your favorite day at school?”
One might guess many things; a victory at sports, or when they cancelled the day of finals on a snow day, or the time when “the new girl” invited him to sit with her at lunch.
None of the above…. It was the day when his brand new teacher, Mr. Boggs, showed up at his Social Studies class, with a challenging invitation to discuss……Get this; “Why did the Chicken cross the road?
The minute the class heard the question, they erupted in giggles. No one, absolutely no one raised a hand.
The teacher, obviously serious, said; “Everyone of you has an answer. We will start the day with that discussion. Now let’s hear them.”
Finally, Fred raised his hand and quickly stated the obvious; “To get to the other side?” The class seemed to agree; many thinking,”What? You think we are stupid?”
The teacher agreed with him; “That would be one option, but that is the customary answer; Any others?”
Judy offered; “There was a big dog chasing him!” The class laughed.
Another……”He had a bus to catch”
Another….. “He had a job interview on the other side!”
And, on it went until nearly everyone responded, and they had begun to run out of clever reasons.
The teacher then recognized Eli, pulling his name from the seating chart.
Eli began; “Well, I think we are not being fair to the chicken…… First of all, chickens are not that stupid. My Grandma has a bunch of them. And, I know that you can’t put them all in the same box……. Well you can, but they won’t stay there.”
Beginning to enjoy the opportunity to have the floor, he continued; “Because of their inability to share our values, and their lack of broad communication skills. they are often the victim of ridicule.”
The class and teacher remained silent..Not expecting the rant that was to follow…..
” I wonder how we can assume that he (or she) even crossed the road, or that we can come to conclusions as to their motives. Beyond that; why would we separate chickens from horses, butterflies, or any other of God’s creations, who also may have desires to change their environment? We don’t talk about them!”
He stopped for sip from is water bottle and continued.
“Whatever decision we make here can have huge implications. In this day and age we are often victim of oversimplification. And, for those who do not believe that there is accountability for most everything, I would refer you to the story of Chicken Little who made some very bad choices…. but that’s for another time. However, you must know this;
“To be brief; this Chicken Little was totally centered upon the false conviction that the sky was falling (I won’t go into how or why) …..He was spreading the word, was led down the road into the Foxes den and was unceremoniously eaten. Further, we don’t even know how he tasted.
“In conclusion” Eli added…. “I submit that the chicken may have refrained from crossing the road for very legitimate reasons: We must, therefore, hear all the facts before we jump to any conclusions.
He ended; “Thank you all for listening.”
The class burst into wild applause.
Mr. Boggs joined in with the pronouncement: “Well, there goes my first “A” of the year.” “Good job Eli !”
Eli’s response, with a big grin; ” And that “A” is why… I ….crossed the road.
And , even more importantly, the “New Girl” blinked her very blue eyes and reminded him……”Eli, don’t forget our lunch date.”
“Ah what a day”
“What a Burrito!”